Thursday, May 24, 2012

Aliens R Us

Colonizing the Galaxy: The Fermi Paradox

There are millions, if not billions, of other worlds within our galaxy where life, including intelligent life, might have evolved at some point during the last several billion years. Such a time scale provides any intelligent life form plenty of time to colonize the galaxy. So why hasn't it already reached Earth. That is Fermi's Paradox.

Stephen Webb's book Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life offers fifty possible solutions that fall into three broad categories: “They Are Here”, extraterrestrials are in our vicinity, but hidden somehow; “They Exist But Have Not Yet Communicated”, they exist on a faraway world and have not reached us yet; and “They Do Not Exist”, they have never existed in the first place, or they have existed but have since gone extinct. ... (The Space Review)

This list of possibilities is not exhaustive.

It assumes that extra-terrestrials would be identifiable as such with blue skin, three eyes, two pairs of hands or a coating of green slime.

However, to colonize the galaxy thoroughly means establishing oneself on highly diverse worlds, with different atmospheres, g forces, daylengths, etc.

This would be an enormous challenge and rather pointless if sub-intelligent life forms already exist on habitable planets. In that case, one need only engineer some member of the native fauna, preferably one already possessed of binocular vision and an opposable thumb, so that it acquires one's own, i.e., an alien, mental capacity.

What would that kind of take over look like?

After hundreds of millions of years of dimbulb critters like Tyranosaurus rex, the rhinoceros, the three-toed sloth, the snail darter and the cockroach, there would emerge, in merely an instant of geological time, a species of vastly superior intelligence that rapidly appropriated the resources of the entire planet, created a high-tech civilization and then either destroyed itself through internecine nuclear conflict, or embarked on the colonization of the galaxy.

Should it follow the latter course, the native life form with an alien intelligence would be surprised to find that the task of galactic conquest had already been accomplished by a pre-existent civilization. It would be even more surprised to find that they are us.

First published at the February 25, 2007

1 comment:

  1. Excellent, I find the last option they existed but now extinct option really interesting, thank you!